Moving On

 

There comes a time when you realize the next step is to move on. As painful and hurtful of a season in your life that moving on is, change is inevitable sometimes.

I remember when I was at the lowest point in my life, the moment I realized that my marriage was in serious trouble. It was not over yet, but something inside of me told me,”Get ready to change.”.

I needed to talk to the pastor & asst. pastor at my church. It was a smaller church, yet full of loving people that cared deeply for me in my pain. I opened up and just poured out my heart to these men and shared things I had held on to for far too long. It was like pulling out the barb of a stingray from my heart, one that creates a puncture wound going in, but pulled out it rips a huge hole.

God gave me a statement in that time that I hold onto until this very day. In one moment, I felt a peace that is beyond words. It was straight from the heart of God to start the healing process in my heart, even though I was only separated at the time.

“Jesus and I are movin’ on.”

Words that penetrated deep into my soul. It was a statement that told me, God was with me. He was never going to leave me. He would never forsake me.

I realized that at any moment when I felt down or depressed, I could hold on to the words that God gave me. They were, and still are, a lifeline.

There are times in your life that people will let you down. They will not be there for you when you need them. Sometimes, that is the best thing for you, even though you think they should be there for you. But Jesus is always there.

The words include the word ‘and’. That means I need to be with Jesus. I know he never leaves me, but it means I need to be in a lifetime, life-changing relationship with Him to benefit from the peace He wants to pour out.

Movin’ on means that we are not staying in the pain and struggle we are in right now. I does not mean there will not me new struggles and troubles in the future, but it gets me looking forward toward the future and letting go of the past.

The past is just that, past you.

Did you ever think about why God put our eyes on the front of our head and not on the back? I believe it is because he does not wanting us to dwell on our past but to look forward towards what lies ahead.

When you realize that when change is coming and it needs to happen, hold on to something strong. Something that will not let you down.

And make sure you rent the moving truck with “Mom’s Attic” in the front. You always have more to move than you realize. ūüôā

Starting Over

Where do I begin? Is there anything left? Where is God in all of this?

Sound familiar? These are some of the exact questions that people have when needing to recover from a divorce.

I have a hard time telling people what to do. It’s hard enough to be a dad and tell my daughter she needs to go to bed when she doesn’t want to or my son that he needs to take care of things before the last-minute. Maybe it is just my way of allowing people to learn, or maybe it is just me wimping¬†out on my responsibility as a dad. I need to work on that.

But,  do you REALLY want someone to tell you what to do? Do you REALLY trust the advice you are getting is in your best interest? How do you know?

Ok, here is where the rubber meets the road. Are you ready? What I am going to tell you is going to be something that most people will never tell you. It is groundbreaking information that will work 100% of the time, if you follow the directions. The problem is most people either never receive the advice with a willing spirit to change or they attempt it for a while and then think the advice has to be wrong so they just go it alone.

If you really want to know what to do, here it is:

1) Pray

2) Seek God

3) Turn away from the wrong things

Simple as that. If you truly want the recovery and peace that will last and sustain you as you heal, you need help from above. Only God can heal a broken heart.

Praying to God, no matter what the prayer sounds like to start, opens the communication to Him. It brings forth an openness for change in you, which is what is needed to heal.

I can remember times of just screaming and yelling at God. Every part of me wanted to vent my frustration and pain while pushing the blame onto someone or something else. I wanted them to feel pain like I felt and it really didn’t matter what I said. It just felt good to say it. Praying for justice took on a whole new meaning, meaning it would make me feel better. but eventually, God changed my heart.

He caused me to start praying that I would be all He had for me to be, no matter what happened. I knew that the future held so much more pain, but I knew that deep down, God loved me with a love that no human can have. It help the healing process to start. And it will help you.

Seeking God is just that, looking for Him. Looking for Him in everything, not just a pretty sunrise, your child’s face, or a song that moves you. It is something that should happen daily and be sincere in knowing Him, not finding verses to curse your ex-spouse with (I’m sorry, but I am guilty in doing that for a while). Building a relationship with God, founded on the written word of God (bible), is what will sustain you for the long road ahead as well as setting you up for peace and wisdom to handle what is coming next.

Turning away from the wrong things should be obvious, and for most people, it is. We tell ourselves that we will change our behavior, but it seems like it just will not happen. It takes a decision and the fortitude to manage that decision from this day forward.

What kind of behavior do you need to change? Hopefully, you already know. Most people know where they need to make changes because they have told their spouse things like, “Oh, I can quit drinking or doing drugs if it means you will give me another chance” or “You keep telling me to do (x,y,z) and I don’t think I need to change. It is you who needs to change”. Well, for just a moment, think about it. What behavior did your spouse say caused problems? Start with that. Through more prayer & relationship with God, you will get direction in how you need to change and grow so that you can become the person you need to be.

The points above come from 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says “then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and PRAY and SEEK my face and TURN from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

If you want your land(heart) restored, you need to PRAY, SEEK, and TURN to God.

It is the only way to a true, lasting, and complete healing.

Or, you can keep doing what got you here in the first place……It is your choice.

In my own strength, I failed.

I will take the Creator of it all, the One who loves me and gives me my every breath. My faith and trust is in the One who knows how to heal the broken heart.

He can and will, if you let Him.

Dying To Live

The phrase ‘Dying to Live” is one that is confusing to some people. You might think, “How can I live if I die?”. Simple, but not easy.

The phrase has come to mean, you need to let those things that are dead (ie, marriage, relationships, friendships, your past) be as if they are buried in the ground, never to return. Only then can you really get on with living the life you have to live. Dying to live.

I saw a friend of mine post this video a few days ago. The reason I checked it out was because I used to listen to Creed almost nonstop for a year, getting to know the songs intimately. Scott Stapp (lead singer) has such a distinct voice and he sang with such passion. The words were definitely right down my alley, since I had become a Christian & could tell they were Godly lyrics, even if the band refused to classify themselves as a Christian band. I just needed to check out the video.

I could not believe how inspirational and comforting of a song it is. The lyrics were on the video so I could follow along and it just spoke to me heart.

I would ask you, if you did not take the time to check out the full video, please do it. Pay attention to the words as the music plays. It speaks life.

After a little YouTubing, I ran across another video about how he was struggling with alcohol and other vises as the band was growing apart. He talks candidly about how dark those times were and that he experienced a divorce and a near-death 40 foot fall. He realized he had to die (almost physically, yet totally to his own self) to live. Check it out here, if you like.

It is through the struggles in life that we find out what is really worth living for. Our children, family, friends, and those near and dear to us love us like none other, except God.

Jesus died for you and me so that we could live. He knew life is a struggle, but He provided the way to peace and new life in God.

“I had to go hell to find my Heaven, 40 feet I had to fall from grace. Everything’s so clear when you’ve got one foot in the grave.”

Who has been there? I know I have. I remember wishing I would just die, knowing that I would see Jesus right away, but He had other plans for me. He had a purpose through my pain & experience. He knew that at some point, you would need this encouragement. My pain was to help you.

It took me a long time to figure that out, but I now know that things will come clear, if you just die to yourself and your past, and choose.to live.

My pastor said one Sunday that “Forgiveness is hold out no hope for a better past.”. The past is gone. You can learn from it, but you cannot change it. Let it die.

And my friend, now LIVE!!!

Nine Minutes After Sundown

"Nine Minutes After Sundown." Photo from 1,500' over Decatur Island, looking to the Southwest, Lopez Island, and the Olympic Peninsula. Photo by Jeffery A. Lustick
“Nine Minutes After Sundown.”
Photo from 1,500′ over Decatur Island, looking to the Southwest, Lopez Island, and the Olympic Peninsula. Photo by Jeffrey A. Lustick

When my lawyer/pilot friend Jeff posted this picture from one of his recent flights, it inspired me. First, to ask him if I could use it and then to use it to inspire a blog post.

A sunset is so beautiful, unlike the end of a marriage. If anything, they are a stark contrast to each other. One beauty, the other ugliness. One peace, the other war.

For a moment, take a breath and look at this picture, I mean really look at it.

The sun is going down. It is so colorful. It makes you want to reflect.

But the temperature is going to fall. The darkness is coming. That is the hard part.

Do you ever wonder why God created the sunset (and the sunrise, for that matter) to be such a brilliant display of color? I think it has to do with him wanting to get our attention. There is a change coming, and He wants you to know that it is ok. He wants you to get ready for change, but not to fear it. There is life(color) in the coming change, but it is before the change happens.

I love the title, Nine Minutes After Sundown. It means the sun has already fallen, yet the beauty is at its peak. It doesn’t mean the darkness will not come, it is just reminding us that we need to pay attention and reflect on the changes to come.

Just as with the sunrise, the colors are back in the sky, but it is before the sunrise(change). Every wonder why? Just like in the sunset, the colors precede the change. Again, I think it is God’s way of saying, “Ok, here is the day that I have made for you. It will be full of life, full of grace and mercy. Get ready!!”

Lamentations 3 (NLT)

21 Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.

23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

24¬†I say to myself, ‚ÄúThe¬†Lord¬†is my inheritance;¬†therefore, I will hope in him!‚ÄĚ

We all understand that the sun will rise again and life goes on. Even when Jesus died, the sun rose the next day. No matter how bad the coming or current darkness is, in due time the sun will be back and life will continue.

Let this picture be an encouragement, to give you strength to face the battles you have and to know that very soon, the sun will rise on your life again.

Never Give Up!! (Holidays Edition)

Never Give UpIt is supposed to be the most joyous season of the year. And no, it is not the start of the NFL pre-season, when the kids return to school, or ever what the new Duck Dynasty episodes start again. (I may reconsider new Duck Dynasty, ….I will think about it.)

This is the time of the year when we have a strong desire to love and to spend time with our families, enjoy the decorations and the eggnog, and hopefully taking time to know the real meaning of Christmas. Sadly, it can be the most depressing and most dangerous time for someone dealing with divorce. I remember those days, and I would not wish them on my worst enemy.

Everyone has heard the stats about suicide and depression at this time of the year. It is very real and unless you have first hand knowledge, you don’t understand. The combination of loss, change, and unreal expectations get the best of people this time of year.

NEVER GIVE UP!!!

One of the funniest things I remember our daughter say when she realized she did not want to go to sleep and she was learning to talk is exactly that, NEVER GIVE UP!!

I don’t remember how or where she heard it, but there was that night when she just did NOT want to go to sleep. Having a baby monitor near the crib is priceless for piece of mind, but you hear the funniest things too.

She just kept saying “NEVER GIVE UP”. I can’t even remember how many times, but it took a while to stop laughing and quit making those noises you make when you try not to laugh.

Just like her, we need to have the attitude to not give up on our situation or on the things that are the right things to fight for.

It is more than just saying a phrase. It is all about having a drive and a will that causes you to speak life into your situation.

How do you get comfort for that brokenness you feel deep down in your soul when you finally realize this time of year is never ever going to be the same?

I believe that, more than ever, you must keep your thoughts, feelings, desires, and attention on Jesus like your life depends on it. Why? Because it does depend on it.

What do you say when your ex gets the kids around Christmas and all you want is to shower them with your love and attention along with gifts you know they will just go crazy when they see them?

When you have to say something to your kids or your ex about plans for the time around Christmas, remember that Jesus came and died for you, your ex, and your kids. That is what is important. This is the time of the year to celebrate the birth of a Savior, the One and only Son of God. It is about a gift.

Gifts are better given than received. As you get older, you realize that the true joy is giving the gift. To be able to bring joy and excitement to another person, no matter how big or small, is healing in itself. It heals us on the inside, at a soul level.

If you could have $1 million and the only stipulation was that you have to give it all away in denominations of no more than $100. How would you do that? Would you walk down the street and find a homeless person to bless? Would you make the red kettle bell ringer’s day when he opens the lid? Would you enjoy walking through the mall and just giving kids cash? How would you feel after doing that? How many people that can’t afford food or more than a simple present would see $100 as a life-changing amount? More than you might think.

In those times when you feel depression trying to take over, just know that Jesus never has and never will give up on you. You just need to make it through this moment and not give up. It is when we give up that depression, anxiousness, and all the negative feelings take over and “Scrooge” our lives. Don’t let it happen.

Do a few things for yourself.

1) Spend time reading God’s word. It is so full of peace and encouragement. Feed your soul words of truth, not seeds of depression.

2) Spend time with those you can, even if it is friends and not your family. Just do not stay alone. Make it known to at least one friend that you would love to spend a little time with them. Families will open their doors to friends that need someone to be around, but we must not be too proud to ask or inquire of them. If they don’t know, they may not invite you to join them.

3) Realize that this time will soon pass and you have so much to look forward to. Just like the wrapped gifts under the tree, you are never sure what the gift is until you unwrap it. God is giving you gifts all the time, daily. Just look for them. Open them. He wants you to know of His great love for you, especially in this season.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not wonder who is reading this blog and I pray for you daily, that you truly know the love, peace, and joy that surpasses all understanding. You are never alone. God is with you, and I am praying for you.

Have a blessed Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season.

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